(c’82-’86) Martin G. Stieb (drums), Darren “Wiz” Brown (vocals / lead guitar), Gerry Bryant (bass / backing vocal) and Danny Brown (rhythm guitar / backing vocals).

Capricorn band promo flyer. Picture courtesy of Tanya Foster

Farnborough (although some reports suggest Guildford Technical College) based Capricorn, named for the brothers shared star sign, formed in July ’82 when Wiz and Bryant left Stallion and got together with Wiz’s brother and could be heard rehearsing at the Railway Enthusiast’s Club. Wiz had briefly joined Quilp on Stallion’s demise. They were later joined by punk band Deathtrap’s ex-drummer, Stieb. The “First Demo” demo was recorded in Oct ’82, at Loose Leaf Studio, Liss and featured “Angeline’s Return” and “Turn The Radio Off”.

This was quickly followed by the bands first gig together as Capricorn on 13 November that year. They proceeded to gig extensively locally at the likes of the Wooden Bridge and The Royal, Guildford for example, and in London over the next couple of years and became well know for wearing their suits and trench coats and Doc Martins.

In January ’83 they supported The Normals, with Black Easter, Cry Havoc and Les Strawberries, at Basingstoke Technical College SU; a gig organized by Liz Hurley (the SU Entertainments Officer at the time). The gig started late and Capricorn were cut short so a ‘disco’ could be started resulting in a ‘falling out’ between Wiz and Hurley. By this time the band had already recorded “Angeline’s Return” and “Toys in the Attic”. The later being earmarked for a punk compilation album expected in the summer of ’83. They’d also started rehearsing once a week at a studio in Tadley.

On 28 April ’83 the band were at The Wooden Bridge, Guildford supporting Greg and Phil Boynton’s Dagaband. Shortly after PLAGUE Promotions, run by Paul Lee and Alan Goff, pulled out of the Ad Lib Club, above The Kensington, London due to a disagreement with the brewery about admission charges, Capricorn secured a Monday night slot the first week of November. The band closed out ’83 with a headline slot, supported by Synth Taxi, at the Clarendon, Hammersmith on 20 December.

The band were back at The Royal supporting Pendragon in January ’84. Jackie Lynton found himself supported by Capricorn on 22 March at The Royal, Guildford, Then May ’84 saw a small UK tour that included the The Royal on 10 May, supported by Black Tiger, and the Dortmunder Bier Keller, Leeds on 16 May. In August, Capricorn supported ADX – the Sire labels requested rebrand for The Adicts, a name they considered to have too much of a negative connotation – on home turf at The Royal, Guildford. At some point during the year the Farnborough four piece joined a number of other bands, including Edward The Confessor, Fashionable Living Dead, and Dougie and The Doughnuts for the Southern Amateur Rock Concert in Aid of the “Ethiopian Famine Appeal”. By this time the band were closing in on 100 gigs. They camped out in Fret Studios, Southampton over the 22/23 September and 20/21 October, lying down 15 tracks, all recorded ‘live’ on first take and engineered by John Glance on the 8-track recording equipment. The tracks represented a sampling two years of material and were released as “The Good News Tape”.

1985’s The Good News Tape

The 15-tracks of ‘The Good News Tape’ arrived in March ’85 and sold over 1000 copies. All the tracks except covers of “Back in the U.S.S.R” and “Don’t Dictate” were written by Wiz and included “Another Day Another Dollar”, “Old Bones in a Shallow Grave” and Good News, Good News”. That same year the band released the ‘Another Day Another Dollar’ demo cassette, recorded at South Hill Park in September, which also carried “Stick The Rules”.

‘Another Day Another Dollar’ demo cassette. Source: Tanya Foster via Mega City Four

On 6 April ’85 Capricorn were at The Royal again, this time with Function. Tours of Germany and Holland followed. “Another Day Another Dollar” was getting considerable airplay in the Dutch market. Capricorn supported, the early incarnation of The Godfathers, The Sid Presley Experience at The Riverside Club, Fetcham on 30 August.

Capricorn at The Marquee, London, Jan ’86. Source: Iain Davis via Mega City Four

In January ’86 the band were at the Marquee, and later that month they were supporting London based hard rock / glam metal band The Grip. Stieb left and was replaced by Exit East and Moose Caboose drummer Chris Jones. The Grip found Capricorn in support again, with Monty Zero, at the Marquee on 5 March ’86. The band morphed and in ’87 the Brown brothers, Bryant and Jones went on to form Mega City Four.